Now that Thanksgiving is over it’s time to focus on the more important holiday…


Growing up we all have our own little family traditions. My family would always drive around on Christmas Eve to look at all the lights in different neighborhoods. My husband’s family would get their own choice box of cereal for Christmas morning {name brand and all!}

We have started one of our very own traditions since being married…

Mexican food for Christmas Eve dinner!

Two tamales, rice and a stuffed pepper on a plate













We both really enjoy Mexican and let’s face it, tamales are a staple for any Mexican holiday.

I used to seek out a little road side tamale carts to find some authentic {less work for me} tamales, and spend a small fortune for what seemed to be gone way too fast.

Little did I know that making your own tamales would be inexpensive, a little time consuming…yes, but completely worth it!

I was lucky enough to get chosen once again for Foodbuzz’s 24×24.

So I thought what better way to kick off December than serving my in-law’s our family’s traditional Christmas Eve dinner!

Raw chicken and onions in a crockpot













The meat that goes inside the tamales is your choice. I like pork, but The Man wanted chicken this time {Santa is watching so I was nice}.

With this recipe you can substitute the chicken for pork or beef.

The possibilities are sky high!

Well about as sky high as 3 choices can get you… so maybe just knee high…I tend to over exaggerate when I get excited.

You’ll have to excuse me for that.

But I promise I never let facts get in the way of a good story…

A close up of a a couple piles of dried corn husks


Corn husks in a pan of water with a glass measuring cup adding weight to hold them down


A demonstration how to prep Chile peppers for use in making tamales

One fact that you’ll want to really pay attention to is that you NEED to wear gloves when removing the stems and seeds from these dried Chile peppers.

Don’t make the same mistake I have made several times in the past…

It took 3 days before I could put my contacts back on.

Talk about embarrassing!

I have the worst vision out there!

Think- coke bottles…


A display of measured ingredients needed to make tamales



A measuring cup of corn oil above a bowl of powdered mixture












Ok so I might be exaggerating again.

It’s more like x8.

Either way I put Mr. Magoo to shame.

A hand pressing a tamale mix together















My point is this- wear the gloves!

You can even wear gloves when mixing the Masa together, it wouldn’t hurt.

I totally got tons of Masa under my nails which is really annoying if you’re a hand model like me.

It’s a lot of work when your hands are famous.

People are always asking for more pictures of my hands, so I oblige. To be honest, I’m a hand talker.

A liquid being poured into a bowl of powder


A hand pinching the tamale past together


A demonstration of how to blend and add the red peppers to the tamale paste mixture


















You know the type.

When I talk, my hands are always there to support what I’m saying.

Much like Ricky Bobby when he won his first race.

Shake… and… Bake…

A spoon stirring another variation of the tamale meat, with chicken and corn













I don’t really know sign language, just the alphabet.

And hot dog and hamburger.

You know… the important ones.

When I was younger I used to claim I knew sign language just because I have a cousin who is deaf. I also used to claim that I knew how to cut hair because my mom was a hair stylist.

A hand pressing the tamale paste on to a corn husk













That didn’t turn out to be true after I chopped off my friend’s little sister’s hair.

It resembled something similar to Edward Scissorhands, only not so cool and trendy.

The tamale paste pressed into a corn husk













Then much later on in life after zero practice, I attempted to tell The Man that I knew how to cut hair based on the same merit.

He let me trim his hair and 20 minutes later we were on our way to see my Mom for a “real haircut.”

A spoon laying the shredded chicken in the middle of the tamale













I must be really good at persuading people to let me do things that I probably shouldn’t.

I ended up with 4 kids and I’m still not really sure how that happened.

A demonstration on how to roll a tamale

All I know is that I planned this huge elaborate Mexican Fiesta for my in-laws to show them some holiday love…

{and maybe to prove to my mother-in-law that I finally know how to cook}

A pile of tamales stacked on a plate













It was a great time, we all ate till we were stuffed and then ate some dessert.

Because nothing says Holidays like over-endulging.

A close up of the tamales in a pot cooking













By the way- I’m starting a diet tomorrow. There I go over-exaggerating again!

A close up a tamale on a plate with rice and a half stuffed pepper


Two tamales on a plate with a side of rice and a stuffed pepper












Serve these delicious tamales with these tasty side dishes:

Creamy Santa Fe Corn Boats
Mexican Rice and Beans in the Crock Pot

A pile of tamales stacked on a plate
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Chicken and Green Chile Tamales

With this recipe you can substitute the chicken for pork or beef. The possibilities are sky high!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Mexican
Servings: 30
Calories: 109 kcal
Author: Shawn


Chicken Filling:

  • 1.5 pounds skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 medium onion quartered
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 dried chile peppers
  • 2 cups water

Green Chile Filling:

  • 2 small cans green chiles
  • 1 cup frozen corn, thawed
  • 3/4 cup monterey jack cheese, shredded

Tamale Dough:

  • 4 cups Maseca brand Masa
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 3 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp chile powder
  • 1 cup corn oil
  • 2 1/2 cups beef broth
  • 1 package dried corn husks


  • Place chicken, onion, and garlic in a large stock pot. Cover all the way with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, cover and cook for 2 hours or until the chicken is falling off the bone.
  • Meanwhile put on a pair of rubber gloves to remove the stems and seeds from the dried chiles. Place the chiles and two cups of water in a small pot, bring to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat to cool slightly. Place peppers and remaining liquid into a blender and blend till smooth. Strain into a cup and set aside.
  • Once chicken is cooked, remove from pot and shred. Pour 1 cup of the red chili sauce on top and mix till combined.
  • To make the tamale dough combine masa, salt, garlic, and chili powder in a large bowl. Add the corn oil and mix with your hands. Place the beef broth in the microwave for 2 minutes till warm and add 1/2 cup at a time to the masa mix. Use your hands to incorporate until the dough is the texture of soft cookie dough.
  • Place corn husks in a large bowl of warm water and place either a large pot or heavy cup on top to submerge the husks. Let sit in warm water for at least 20-30 minutes.
  • Place a small amount of the masa onto each corn husk and spread out using your fingers to make a small rectangle. The masa should not go all the way to the top of the corn husk, but stop about 1/4 inch from the top. Try not to make the masa too thick, it should only be about 1/4 of an inch thick at the most.
  • Place a tablespoon of the filling into the center of the tamale. Take one side of the tamale and fold towards the center then fold over again. Take the tail end of the tamale and fold up. You can take strips of spare corn husks to tie the tamales if they are too full.
  • Place the tamales open side up in a deep steamer. Cover with a damp cloth and then place the lid on top.
  • Let steam for 2 – 2 1/2 hours until the masa comes away clean from the corn husk when opened.


Calories: 109kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 24mg | Sodium: 347mg | Potassium: 135mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 117IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 47mg | Iron: 1mg
Keywords: Chicken, green chiles, masa, monterey cheese, tamales
DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?don't forget to share a picture and mention @iwashyoudry on Instagram or tag #iwashyoudry!


Dulce de Leche Cheesecake in a blue pie dish with a slice removed


Finish off with a nice big slice of Dulce de Leche Cheesecake.
What’s your favorite family Holiday tradition??
About the author

Shawn is the Owner and Creator of I Wash You Dry. She loves to create and share simple, family-friendly recipes. Mom to 5 adorable children and dwells in the desert of Southern Utah.

Shawn Syphus smiling

Shawn Syphus

Hi, I’m Shawn and I’m a busy mom of five; pretending to live on a budget. I love to cook, and explore new recipes, but they have to be quick and easy with as few dishes as possible.

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